Our method has the following advantages over a generic bike shop fit:Let's look at a very simple measurement: seat height.
- Aero-specific fit. We know how to fit aerodynamically. Many "fit systems" fail to distinguish between road and Tri fitting - big mistake!
- We use dynamic analysis of you pedaling under load, as opposed to static measurement which may not accurately depict your position.
- We use software to plot your angles while you are working, instead of measuring angles with a device while you are stopped. Angle measuring devices are prone to error, and again they are unable to take measurements while you are moving.
All these problems are solved through our method of fitting you on your actual bike while you are pedaling under load.
Now let's get into the nitty-gritty. How low should your aero-bars be? Where do you measure from? How far away from your saddle should they be? Do you need a different stem? Saddle? Seat post? Frame? (Maybe). What is your optimal effective seat angle? Where do you measure this angle? What seat tube angle should your bike have? Can you use a road bike?
The way to answer all these questions is by looking at your body angles. And in our opinion, this doesn't mean looking at them in a "posed", static position on a fit bike.
I have seen situations again and again where a person looks fine standing still, but as soon as they apply force to the pedals for any amount of time, their position changes radically. Their back arches, they slide forward or back on their saddle, they point their toes, etc. Again, you need to be evaluated under load. Only then do your true biomechanics reveal themselves.
Sitting too far back relative to bottom bracket (slack seat angle), resulting in an acute hip angle. This typically leads to lower back pain, tired/cramping quads, and lack of power. This in our opinion is one of the biggest errors out there. Many frames are simply not built with a steep enough seat angle. Look at many of the top pros in the Hawaii Ironman (See our video and pictures on the home page).They are sitting on the noses of their saddles, and I guarantee it is not because that is the most comfortable way to sit for four and a half hours! They are getting themselves forward enough to open their hip angle for optimal power. Look at TT Champion David Zabriske. Sure, he is riding shorter events and doesn't have to run afterwards.But his position is a thing of aero beauty even if it is extreme. He has his saddle set at 78 degrees, but he sits at approximately 85 degrees, almost directly above the bottom bracket. I have measured his angles and they are right in the center of the ranges we look for, even though he has more handlebar drop than just about anybody. The secret is his 85 degree virtual seat angle.
- Aero-bars too far away from saddle (reach too long), putting your arms and torso in a weak position, again leading to lack of power and lower back issues. This also causes shoulder/neck pain/tension/fatigue.
- Saddle too low or high, leading to knee issues, lack of power, and comfort (crotch) issues.
- Aero-bars too high (not enough drop), typically because the rider is uncomfortable when they are lowered. This is frequently because the bars are lowered without adjusting seating position.If you are set up correctly, you should feel like you are suspended comfortably and horizontally when in the aero position. No tension in the lower back, quads, hams, or shoulders, and you should be able to hammer the pedals without the force hammering the rest of your body. If your hip angle is correct, you can recruit all of the muscles from your buttocks, quads, hamstrings on down to apply force to the pedals. If you are too far back, your quads will work overtime and your lower back will too. You will be slower on the bike and almost definitely slower on the run too.
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